Information/Mental Process Patents

Information/Mental Process Patents can include everything from computer software, business models, and possibly even methods of organizing people (Roberts Rules), parliamentary processes, and acts of parliament/law.

See: NoSoftwarePatents.com (EU), Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (EU), League for Programming Freedom (US).

Google joins open-source patent network

An article by Matthew Broersma for CNET discusses the recent addition of Google to the The Open Invention Network, an organization created to help take the pressure of patent litigation off FLOSS developers. See also the OIN press release: Open Invention Network™ Extends The Linux Ecosystem As Google Becomes Its First End-User Licensee.

Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth speaks about patent issues..

An e-Week article by Peter Galli includes a discussion with Mark Shuttleworth about software patents, Microsoft, and the new GPLv3.

Google: Kill all the patent trolls

With Apple and IBM acting as fanboys of the current US patent system, Google provided a more sane viewpoint at the annual Stanford Summit in Northern California according to a Register article by Cade Metz.

Canadians should remember that in Canada it was IBM's patent lawyers, not Microsoft, that has been leading the charge to increase patentability to include things such as information/mental processes (software, business methods, etc).

Entrust offers certificate technology to Mozilla

An ITBusiness.ca article by Mari-Len De Guzman discusses the recent press release from Entrust Inc. of code to its patented certificate revocation list distribution points (CRL-DP) technology. I was interviewed and discussed the whole question of whether software should be patented, and whether specific patents are even good quality patents. I also discussed the question of "field of use" restrictions for royalty-free licenses of patents, with this being the aspect of the discussion that was included in the article.

“It’s hard to tell, just from the press release, some of the legal fine prints,” said Russell McOrmond, policy coordinator for Ottawa-based Canadian Association for Open Source.

Oops -- I'm the only person from CLUE in Ottawa ;-)

Patent law changes power ahead in US Congress

An article by Anne Broache, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, discusses some bills in the USA that aim to reduce the massive failures in the US patent system.

Improvements: First to file to match international patent community, creation of a "post-grant opposition" board to more cheaply weed out poor quality patents, restrict acceptable venues for filing patent suits, and reducing remedies able to be claimed against "infringers".

Court ruling triggers IT patent panic?

In an article by Briony Smith for IT World Canada, John Reid, president of the CATA Alliance, is quoted with regards to a recent court ruling requiring additional data to confirm patentability.

Mr. Reid said, "This does affect all of the advanced technology sector, when it comes to patent protection—it affects any product that requires patent protection, which is everything". (See also: CATA press release)

I have not read the case yet, but from the article alone I must disagree with Mr. Reid.

Launch of GNU GPLv3: Friday, June 29, at 12 noon (EDT)

FSF has kept to the schedule and will be releasing the GPLv3 on Friday. Estimates have been that more than 50% of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software available is under the GPL, most which kept the "either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version" clause. One notable exception is the Linux kernel that, because they removed this option, doesn't realistically have the option to change licenses (without trying to get the approval of thousands of contributors).

The process that lead to this upgrade of the license was very open, bringing in feedback from people who often had very different ideas of how to move forward. With the additional compatibility with additional licenses offered by the GPLv3, this license will be the most influential legally binding document in the software industry.

Interview with Alan Cox

Alan Cox is one of the lead developers of the Linux Kernel. I found the following answer in a Q&A session to be interesting.

12) Do you share some people's fear of Microsoft's threats (concerning patents and intellectual property)?

I don't think they are the biggest danger. As Microsoft has been finding out recently it is the patent trolls, and organisations with buried patents in interesting areas that are the biggest threat in the USA.

A Patent Lie

An op-ed piece by Timothy B. Lee (adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute) in the New York Times talks about how Microsoft has had a change of heart about software patents, and how they have become the type of abusers that they once warned about.

You can learn more about CATO institute from their website. They describe themselves as supporters of "traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace."

Patent sought on 'synthetic life' / Terminator seed ban in Canada?

There is an article on the BBC website talking about a corporate scientist wanting to get a broad patent on the method they plan to use to create 'synthetic life'. The article pointed at the Ottawa-based ETC Group, so I contacted them as well.

This is one of those areas where my work in the technology law areas of PCT and my other interests intersect.

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